Mercurial Scottish fly half Finn Russell will not be available for at least the next three Lions tour games. The playmaker was a late scratch from the mid-week matchup against the Sharks due to a leg injury.
Sadly, head coach Warren Gatland even went as far as to suggest that he could miss out on the rest of the tour completely if there is no further improvement.
“It isn’t a strained Achilles, there is a slight little wee tear in it so it is going to keep him out for the next couple of weeks. We are going to try and see if we can rehab him.”
“He is going to be in a boot for the next five days and when he comes out of that, he will have some more treatment and he will still continue to get treatment over the next five days and if he is making good progress then we will assess him going forward.”
“If he is not there is a possibility that he may go home. It’s a wait-and-see situation.”
Faced now with only two potential options at fly half, Gatland decided to call up to England’s Marcus Smith.
The tour itself also continues to be very much up in the air at the moment. Several more Springboks have now tested positive for coronavirus, including captain Siya Kolisi.
The Lions have named their squad for the upcoming match with South Africa A.
15. Anthony Watson, 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. Josh Adams, 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Conor Murray – captain, 1. Wyn Jones, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Iain Henderson, 6. Josh Navidi, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Taulupe Faletau,
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Mako Vunipola, 18. Zander Fagerson, 19. Adam Beard, 20. Tadhg Beirne, 21. Sam Simmonds, 22. Gareth Davies, 23. Elliot Daly
Gatland said: “There is a pretty good chance they will switch the Stormers and South Africa A game around but nothing has been confirmed yet… You have just got to roll with the punches.”
“We have just got to go with the flow and react to what is thrown at us.”
The first test is currently scheduled for July 24.